I read that people in Alaska
Use special bulbs
To emulate real light
When the sun keeps days
Selfishly short
Something to remind the brain
That the light hasn’t gone out for good
That there’s hope

There’s something appalling about that, to me

As far as I’m concerned
You might as well go to Wal-mart
And bask in the heavenly glow of 4,000
18 watt fluorescents
I bet if you used the fork lift
You could get a nice tan

I don’t think people from temperate climates
Understand anything about hope
But me, I am from Ohio
And have a great deal to say on the subject

My mother keeps a post card on the fridge
With a picture of a flower, peeking out from a snow drift
“Consider the wisdom of optimism” it says
Sometimes I flick it off while looking for milk

I used to think I was better than winter depression
Because I run
But I’m here to tell you
That no one is exempt

Yesterday, while jogging on the bike path
I caught myself laughing out loud
At Ira Glass’ Dad jokes
When winter bitch-slapped me in the face
With a 30 mile an hour wind gust
I slowed down a bit
My lively trot
Reduced to big pancake steps

Later the same night
I brave the Kroger parking lot
Obstacle course
Spires of yuck brown snow
And tail bone breaking ice patches
I stand between the natural peanut butter and the
Nutritional Yeast
And catch myself
By a panel of flickering ceiling



Again I find myself in the tub
In one of those rare moments
When absolutely no one is watching
Not even the person I have created in my head to watch me
And so I make the most comfortable pose my body can make
(Which, for the time being, is a something like a woman
Giving birth with her arms above her head)
I sway my hair back and forth
Underwater and feel
Its slow-motion weight
Remember being a mermaid

These moments
Are so critical to me
Because they are the ones
In which I am really free
Without mirrors
Or judgment

Without these
I am a shaky little creature
Perpetually anticipating the snicker
Of imaginary audience
Censoring myself into
More reasonable dances
But if I’m letting myself be me, entirely
I am, inevitably doing a dance that is deeply weird
But scratches an itch just out of reach
And that feels right to me